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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 25, 2020
It’s only November, but we’ve already been hit with our first major winter storms of the season. Even if this happened a little sooner than we planned — our priority as homeowners is to make sure our houses are properly equipped to weather the winter storms.
So let’s start at the top of the house: the roof. After a few snowstorms, we’ll likely start to see some snow being piling up on the roof, but should it really be a concern to us?
You might be worried about the extra load — but if you see snow on your roof, that’s a good sign. Here’s what a snow-covered roof means for your home:
Can It Hold?
You might be worried about the extra load that winter brings — but I don’t want to see you pulling out your ladders to shovel that snow off yourself. It’s just plain dangerous.
Generally, you don’t need to worry about shovelling snow off your roof. Canadian engineers and architects know how cold and snowy our winters can get and they designed roofs that are meant to safely hold that snow and ice.
According to the National Research Council of Canada, at minimum your roof should be designed to hold 21 pounds per square foot of snow, or between two- to two-and-a-half-feet of packed snow. Depending on where you’re located, this number will change (for example, it’s higher in Alberta). With the pitch of most roofs, most snow should harmlessly roll off.
In extreme cases, where we’ve had a lot of heavy snowfall, there’s been a lot of freezing and thawing, or there are signs that your roof’s structure is compromised, removing the excess snow could be a good idea.
What are the signs of a compromised roof? If you see cracks forming in interior walls, or see a ceiling sagging, or especially if you hear creaking and popping sounds coming from the roof. If any of these occur, you’ll want to call an engineer to assess the health of your structure.
For those of you that insist on clearing your roof off, please hire an insured professional to do it. They’ll have the tools and knowledge to do it safely.
For those of you that insist on clearing your roof off, please hire an insured professional to do it
Like I said, seeing snow on your roof is a good thing. It means your attic is doing its job. Your attic is designed to be a cold space — it should match the outdoor temperature. If heat is escaping your home, and rising out through the attic, you’ll start to see snow melting on your roof, even when the temperature is below freezing — and that’s a bad thing.
First, I should mention, that some bare spots around venting and exhaust pipes is natural, so if you have a few spots — don’t panic. But if there are bare patches nowhere near a pipe, you’ve got an issue.
When the snow melts on your roof, that water will start to flow down, finding a cold spot on your roof it will refreeze, creating a ridge on the roof. This prevents further water from draining off your roof. So what does that mean? Well, the water has to go somewhere. Eventually, this water will backup, creeping underneath your shingles and wreaking havoc to the interior of your home. Leaky roofs can even present symptoms as far as your basement because water can trickle down your wall cavity. It can do a ton of damage.
Generally this is caused by a sufficient lack of insulation in your attic space, but bad gutters can also be a contributing factor. If your eavestroughs are clogged up — all that debris can freeze, which will prevent water from draining. From there, it can start flowing backwards into your roof. Give those gutters a good clean before the season is over — and install some mesh guards overtop that will keep all that junk out in the future.
Even if winter is early this year, don’t panic when you see snow on the roof. It’s a sign that your home is doing what it’s supposed to do. Now, how many more months until spring?
Mike and his family are back! Watch their new show, Holmes 911 on CTV Life Channel.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019